Community association bills tackle problems caused by foreclosures, delinquencies

Some bills punish delinquent owners, some protect

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Daniel Vasquez

Published February 3, 2010

The deadline for Florida lawmakers to introduce new legislation is a month away, and about a half-dozen pending condominium and homeowner association reform bills have already been filed. Many aim to alleviate financial and operating problems caused by record foreclosures and delinquencies.

Many South Florida Associations are on the brink of financial disaster because owners have stopped paying community maintenance fees because they've fallen into foreclosure, lost a job, seen property values drop and other reasons.

So there is little surprise some state law proposals aim at pressuring owners behind in payments to catch up or face penalties or restrictions. Others try to help associations financially by exempting them from costly safety upgrades.

"It is time that common sense returns to our community associations. We need bills that help owners and associations," said Jan Bergemann, president of Cyber Citizens for Justice, an advocacy group for owners in condo and homeowner associations. He said expects more bills to be filed before the official March 2 noon deadline. Among those filed that he supports are bills that provide some cash-strapped condo communities with exemptions from state-mandated fire alarm retrofits.

Here are some Senate and House bills and provisions worth paying attention to:

H.B. 337: Requires associations to send out letters of delinquency to owners detailing all charges and late fees and precludes associations from penalizing owners in any way including removal of office or imposition of fines until at least 20 days after an owner receives delinquency letter. Penalties are also precluded for owners who dispute delinquency charges. Sponsored by Rep. Yolly Roberson, D-Miami.

S.B. 1196: Exempts some single- and two-story condo buildings from requirements of installing manual fire alarm systems if they meet certain conditions, such as having exterior stairway exits; removes from office any director who is more than 90 days behind in maintenance payments or facing a felony theft or embezzlement offense involving association funds; takes voting rights away from owners 90 days or more late in payments. Sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

H.B. 329: Requires condo renters and tenants to pay rent to the association for fees and payments owed for more than 30 says by the owner of the unit. The fees may include attorneys fees owed to the association for collection costs and interest. The bill allows associations to bar from a unit owners who are in foreclosure and more than 90 days behind in assessments. Sponsored by Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami.


I got this morning lots of e-mails who read this article.
Just to make it clear: My quote has nothing to do with the bills listed below the comment.
I can assure you that we strongly oppose S 1196. There are some good provisions included, but it sure doesn't make up for some of the provisions in the bill that are detrimental for owners!
We are strongly favoring H561/S1222 (Rep. Bogdanoff/Sen. Ring) and H419/S864 (Rep. Robaina/Sen. Garcia)
And naturally S 164 + S 780 (both Sen. Lynn) -- but these two bills don't have House companion bills -- yet.
As soon as all bills are filed, we will publish summaries and comments on all these bills -- from the viewpoint of owners.
Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Daniel can be reached at or at 954-356-4219 (Broward County) or 561-243-6686 (Palm Beach County). His condo column runs every Wednesday in the Local section and online at . Check out Daniel's Condos & HOAs blog for news, information and tips related to life in community associations at .